• Provide affordable coverage options for
people under 65. For those who struggle to find
affordable insurance, the House plan would
stop insurers from denying coverage based on a
person’s health history or gender. It also placed
strict limits on how much more insurance
companies can charge based on age.
• Improve long-term services and support.
Provisions would create, over time, a voluntary
insurance program that will help people prepare
for their long-term care needs, with an eye on
remaining independent in their own homes as
they grow older or face a moderate disability.
The Senate passed its health reform bill just
before Christmas. Going into 2010, our most
pressing challenge will be to ensure that any
final legislation contains AARP members’ top
If we succeed, people could finally enjoy peace of
mind, knowing they will never again be forced
into bankruptcy due to medical costs, or denied
affordable insurance coverage because of their
age or medical condition. All this would occur
without adding a dime to the federal debt. That’s
worth fighting for.
Policy Decisions Reflect Member Input, Experts’ Advice
> The Board’s approach to health care reform flowed
straight from the source of all wisdom—our members.
AARP is governed by an all-volunteer Board of
Directors. In 2009, the Board was comprised
of four doctors, two nurses, 11 business and
government leaders and six educators from
the U.S. and its territories. Members of AARP’s
National Policy Council advise the AARP Board
in formulating national, state and local policy.
This information comes from numerous sources,
• Surveys, polls and focus groups.
• Comments shared during tele-town halls and
many other events.
• Analyses of the millions of phone calls, emails
and letters AARP receives each year.
• Analyses and recommendations provided by
the AARP National Policy Council, and guidance
from experts on different sides of all issues.
• Feedback from AARP’s extensive network of
After intense study of the issues and how best to
serve AARP members’ needs, the Board decided
in November to endorse the House Affordable
Health Care for America Act (H.R. 3962).
Taking the Pulse During the Iowa State Fair in
August, visitors to the AARP booth used corn kernels
to “vote” for their top health-reform priority. The big
winner was “bring down costs.” That jar finally piled
up as many kernels as “improve access,” “reduce
prescription drug costs” and “protect Medicare”
combined. Sue and Gary Osweiler (above)
were among the AARP volunteers who provided
information about health reform.